On The Acceptance of Content Driven Cinema In India
It feels nice when your craft is appreciated. It’s an indication of a good change that content-driven films are working now. Everywhere in the world, these films work but in India, the audience demands more commercial fare. It’s not always the case that a masala film will not be content driven. It was difficult to even release those kind of films in the part but now things are changing. It’s a good sign for filmmakers who have good stories to tell. They can now get funds and helm even better films.
On His Disparate Characters In 2017
It wasn’t a conscious decision to opt for different roles. I haven’t planned any role in my career- jo saamne se chalke aata gaya mai karta gaya (‘whatever came before me, I took up). I’m lucky I received good scripts. The work in 2017 shows the range of my craft in that I can pull off such different characters. But an actor can use his craft only when there are good scripts. An actor doesn’t have much in his hands otherwise. As actors, we love to experiment and bring a truth to our performance and at the same time want to entertain people. I knew that with my character Aatma Singh in Newton, I had to deliver a truthful performance but also had to keep the audience engaged. It feels nice when your hard work and dedication reaches the audience and gets acknowledgement. It is a very special character for me. I still receive text messages appreciating my performance.
On His Struggles, Perseverance and Patience
I never regret my struggles. I don’t think I have any bitter experiences as such. Mai kabhi bhookha nahi soya hu Mumbai mei, ya kabhi mere ghar pe chhat kam nahi tha (I’ve never slept hungry in Mumbai, and I’ve never lacked a roof over my head). I hail from a farming family and that thankfully has given me patience to sow a seed and wait for it to bloom. Chane ka daana dabaya jaata hai dharti mei marne ke liye nahi, ankurit hone ke liye (seeds aren’t planted in the earth to die, but to flower). When a person enters the film industry without any backing, even if you are talented it will take time. Because how will anyone identify talent- chehre pe toh likha hota nahi hai ki ye talented hai (your talent isn’t evident from your face). But more than outside struggles of the metaphysical world, my struggles are internal.
On Bollywood Taking A Long Time To Take Notice Of Him
I have been in the film industry for 12 years; it feels that Bollywood has taken a long time to acknowledge me and take note of me as an actor. But I believe it is a part of this game. If I’d have received success early on in my life, I think I wouldn’t have valued it that much. I had to go through a long period of struggle and I’ll value the success more now. This problem isn’t limited to the film industry, it pans across the nation. People in our country don’t understand appreciation of art. Not many people visit art galleries and they don’t because they haven’t been taught how to appreciate art. There are so many classical music concerts but they don’t find takers. Again, this is because people aren’t trained in that field and don’t value it enough. I didn’t expect people to appreciate me so much. It took time, but now the audience understands my craft. Our films aren’t blockbusters, they are small budget films, they run in urban centres. With television and digital platforms, the reach of these films have increased. I wish every year turns out like 2017.
On Viewers’ Needs Of “Popular Cinema”
People may not know Sajan Mishra (please check) but I’m sure they all know who Honey Singh is. We crave popular music, popular writers and popular cinema. Sometimes it hurts that our society isn’t aware about Indian art and culture. I strongly believe economics can be reformed and improved but if our art and culture disappears or we lose depth in it, it’ll take generations to revive those. It’s easier to revive economy, but not art and culture.